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House of Lords Debates Tenets of Islam

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Lord Pearson of Rannoch initiated a debate in the House of Lords yesterday asking the Government to encourage Muslim leaders to re-examine key Muslim tenets of abrogation, Taqiyya and Al Hijra and to publish their conclusions. Tim Dieppe comments on his speech and the various tenets that Lord Pearson highlighted in it. He concludes that Lord Pearson was right to highlight these concerning tenets and to initiate public debate about them.

Lord Pearson of Rannoch initiated a debate in the House of Lords yesterday asking the Government “whether, as part of their strategy against Islamist terrorism, they will encourage UK Muslim leaders to re-examine the Muslim tenets of abrogation, Taqiyya and Al Hijra and to publish their conclusions.”

Lord Pearson’s speech is well worth reading in full. He makes the point that criticism of key tenets of Christianity is entirely permitted in society, whereas it is not for Islam. He finds encouragement from the Archbishop of Canterbury’s speech last year in which he said that:

“in order to defeat terrorism, we need to understand the mindset of those who perpetrate it; that if we treat religiously motivated violence solely as a security or political issue, it may prove impossible to overcome it; that it is wrong to say that ISIS has nothing to do with Islam; and that until religious leaders stand up and take responsibility for the actions of those who do things in the name of their religions, we will see no resolution.”

I commented on the Archbishop’s speech at the time.

Lord Pearson explains that, contrary to popular misconception, Islam does not mean peace, “it means submission to the will of Allah, the Muslim God.” He also explains that sharia law is fundamental to Islam, and constitutes a complete way of life which “does not sit easily with our western liberal democracies and our separation of powers between legislature, executive, judiciary and church.”


Lord Pearson then goes on to outline some problematic tenets of Islam, the first of which is abrogation. According to abrogation, later verses in the Qur’an cancel out earlier peaceful verses. The difficulty of understanding this is complicated by the fact that the Qur’an is not arranged in chronological order, but merely in order of the length of the surahs, or chapters. Abrogation means that, as Lord Pearson says, “the much-quoted early verse, ‘Let there be no compulsion in religion’, is nullified many times in later verses.”


The second tenet highlighted by Lord Pearson is Taqiyya, according to which “Muslims living outside the Muslim world are encouraged to deceive their hosts in order to further Islam.” Lord Pearson cited as an example of this, a letter signed by 119 British Imams and Muslim leaders which claimed that the beheading of British aid worker David Haines “cannot be justified anywhere in the Qur’an.” To justify this claim, they cited Qur’an 5:32 as follows:

“Whosoever kills a human being ... it is as if killing the entire human race; and whosoever saves a life, saves the entire human race.”

Lord Pearson explains that:

“The Taqiyya, or deception, becomes clear when you fill in the dots. The missing passage reads, ‘unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land’. So the Koran actually says you can be killed for spreading mischief in the land, which to the jihadist is doing anything that frustrates his evil purpose.”

Lord Pearson could also have explained that the very next verse justifies execution:

“The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger, and strive with might and main for mischief through the land is: execution, or crucifixion, or the cutting off of hands and feet from opposite sides, or exile from the land: that is their disgrace in this world, and a heavy punishment is theirs in the Hereafter.” (Quran 5:33)


Al Hijra

The third tenet which Lord Pearson highlights is Al Hijra, or the doctrine of immigration following Muhammad’s example migrating from Mecca to Medina for the purpose of spreading Islam. I have written about this elsewhere, and Sam Solomon’s book “Al-Hijra: The Islamic Doctrine of Immigration” is available from the Christian Concern shop.


Lord Pearson also raises the question of the caliphate and cites and article by former Muslim militant Ed Hussain published in The Daily Telegraph earlier this year entitled: “Don’t blame the West, the terror won’t stop until Muslims reject the caliphate”. It was striking to see Lord Desai respond by suggesting a policy of insisting that there ought to be a caliph for Muslims. Ed Hussain is right:

“Muslims must reject the idea that we need a caliphate. Unless we discard the drive for a Muslim super-state, many more will be killed in support of it.”

Death for apostasy

The final tenet that Lord Pearson takes issue with is death for apostasy. I have written about this doctrine and how it is justified elsewhere. It is clearly expounded in the Qur’an and the Hadith, and taught by all four schools of Sunni Islamic jurisprudence, as well as by classical Shiites.


Lord Pearson concluded by raising concerns about the growth of the Muslim population in the UK. The Muslim population rose 10 times faster than the rest of the population between 2001 and 2016, and 33% of Muslims in Britain are under the age of 15, compared with 18% of the rest of the population. Currently, Muslims make up around 6% of the population. Lord Pearson could have referenced a recent report from the Pew Research Center which projects that by 2050 the Muslim population will rise to 9.7% under a zero migration scenario. Under a medium migration scenario the percentage will be 16.7%.


Lord Pearson is right to highlight these important tenets of Islam which need to be understood by everyone who is serious about responding to the challenge of Islam in the UK. In doing so, Lord Pearson is exposing the nature of Islam, and thereby engaging in the fourth pillar of my five pillars of responding to Islam which I outlined in the conclusion to this article. This is not to say that all or even most Muslims are aware of or practice these tenets. Nevertheless, they are part of the official teaching of Islam. Much more debate and discussion about the nature of Islam is needed if we are to be clear about how we should respond to it.


Lord Pearson’s speech: link to watch the debate:

Stop saying ISIS has ‘nothing to do with Islam’, says Archbishop:

Why British Muslims are opting for segregation:

Ex-muslims face threats and violence for leaving Islam:

Europe’s Growing Muslim Population:

The Challenge of Islam in the UK: